In A Better You, General Knowledge

Racial Profiling: The How and Why

Racial Profiling

As our world grows bigger, we are exposed every day to tens of different cultures and religions. We no longer live in the closed communities we once considered home. And convictions of certain superiority of certain races are long dead and gone. Despite the openness and the general attitude of acceptance of differences, racial profiling is still practiced widely, though in more politically correct terms. What exactly is racial profiling and who suffers the consequences of it? Do we unconsciously racially profile people around us or is it more systematic?

What Is Racial Profiling?

Most people go on with their lives unaware of what the concept means or implies. Others are quite in favor of it because they tend to generalize and throw uneducated blames. Racial profiling is using race or ethnicity as a deciding factor by law enforcement in processes such as searching or arresting individuals. It is not merely exclusive to race nowadays, but to religion as well.

In some cases, racial profiling will condemn a whole nation or a whole belief. For example, Muslim communities in the United States and Europe are racially profiled and prosecuted after 9/11. Because the attack on the World Trade Center was executed by terrorists who were allegedly Muslims, a whole nation still has to bear the blame for the awful crime. The same case applies for African American teens and young men. The obvious discrimination in legal matters and police handling of crimes speaks an ugly truth against the whole system.

Racial profiling is different from stereotyping in the sense that one is done systematically and the other is done by individuals. Associating a certain trait to a culture, race, or religion, though wrong and unwise, can be quite harmless if one keeps one’s feelings to oneself. In this respect, stereotyping is practiced by individuals against each other and it can turn dangerous in cases of extreme paranoia but cannot generally be considered a form of persecution. Racial profiling on the other hand is, by definition, practiced by the system against certain races or religions. We can in a way say that racial profiling is the on-field manifestation of stereotyping, done by the men in power, where unfair judgment and preconceived convictions can and do destroy lives.

Racial Profiling Statistics

The thing about ugly truths is that people refuse to admit them. most systems would deny (or justify) practicing discrimination. Racial profiling is unfair and it allows many innocent individuals to be targeted, harassed, and have their privacy invaded every day. It can also, despite the intentions, be counterproductive.

Statistics are a great method of assisting the situation. Authorities who practice racial profiling make the assumption that a certain misconduct is exclusive (or more likely associated to) a certain race/religion. For them, being an individual of this particular race or religion is good enough reason to have some of your civil rights compromised, because you do qualify as a threat. Striking examples of this are how Mexicans are associated with drug cartels and immigration, how African Americans are associated with violence crimes, and how Muslims or Middle Easterners are associated with terrorism.

According to The Reality of Racial Profiling, in 2005 Black drivers were double as likely to be stopped on roadways than Whites. Hispanics were more likely to get a ticket than both African Americans and Whites. On counterterrorism post 9/11, the same report explains, “A prime example of a federal program that encourages racial profiling is the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), implemented in 2002. NSEERS requires certain individuals from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government, as well as to be fingerprinted, photographed, and interrogated.”

Studying the statistics can help you format a better understanding of the situation. Racial profiling is a different aspect of racism. While governments would claim that discrimination based on race and religion is long overcome, they’d still inflict unfair policies and use biased and unethical strategies that indirectly target whole races and nations.

Racial Profiling Articles

A big part of solving the issue is in the awareness. Authorities are people and for racism to be completely eradicated from people they’d need to first understand a few basic concepts about equality. Racial profiling articles, like statistics, can be the easy street-guy’s guide to the issue. So people can start to learn more about the changes that need to be made, but also what kind of changes have taken place across the years and how they have impacted the lives of all affected. Some changes are irrationally, and out of illogical fear, made in the aftermath of appalling atrocities. Consequently, these changes end up hindering the process not assisting it.

Give special attention to the history of racial profiling. History is always a good starting point. More vulgar historical examples of racial discrimination and profiling might serve to draw a contrast between the now and the then. In this case people might eventually notice that while most of the laws changed, some mentalities and practices are still as intolerant and bigoted as the old days. Studying the legal progress and what motivated governments to adopt more fair practices can also be very beneficial in evaluating today’s status quo.

Read a short review on the history of racial profiling in the United States here.

Tracking current incidents of racial profiling is vital. The order of the world we live in today is still constructed. We have of course gone a long way, but the journey to equality is not yet over. It is also important to ponder the question of whether it is effective. Unlike racism, authorities racially profile with good intentions; their uptight and shallow views of the world tell them it would be safer and easier to prevent crimes when implementing such policies. But does it even work? It is unethical and unfair and exposes innocents to unjust procedure, but you’d think it at least has a redeeming quality. Well, it doesn’t. Racial profiling wastes resources, time, and efforts on the wrong people, leaving an open door to the real criminals.

Finally, articles regarding prevention of and how to address the situations should be a priority read. If you belong to any minority, it is important to recognize your rights and understand what constitutes normal safety procedure and what could be invasive and violating of your civil rights.  It’s also essential to not allow racial profiling to pass unnoticed. If you think you’ve been harassed by the police with no probable cause, let it be known and demand to be compensated. Don’t accept an ugly reality as is.

See how racial profiling can reach people at their own homes.

Stop and Frisk

Stop and frisk is a program practiced in New York where the police can stop people walking down the street for no particular reason to “pat them down.” The aim of the program is to eliminate crime, either by arresting the criminals before they get to commit them or by deterring potential criminals on the basis that they might be stopped and searched any second. We might argue that the principle does sound effective, but not everything effective is fair or ethical. Most of the random passers-by that get stopped are innocent and are let go. The issue isn’t in the minor disturbance to innocent people though; it is in the fact that it is not so random. More than 85% of the people stopped and searched with no probable cause are African American or Hispanic. Authorities act under the assumptions that African Americans or Hispanics are more likely to be involved i an illegal activity. This is not a particular rule that police men follow; it is instilled in their brains. It is a conviction that they unconsciously believe in and act upon.

Racial profiling is more in the people than in the laws. Authorities legalize it or favor it because authorities are people in positions of power. Racism and racial stereotypes are not going to vanish over night. Racial profiling is the remnants of a long abusive system of discrimination against minorities. Be knowledgeable of your rights and duties and demand that rights and duties be equalized regardless of race, religion, or color. Understanding what you owe your homeland and what your homeland owes yo in return will allow you to live safely, with dignity and security.

Is your child bullied because of their race? Learn how to stop it. 

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